Two Gardeners

A good gardener carefully planted his seeds in some little containers. He provided them with rich, nourishing soil, and just the right amount of moisture. His seeds quickly became tender little seedlings. He protected them from the wind, defended them against parasites, watered them regularly, and gave them just the right amount of sunlight.

After the seedlings grew in strength, the good gardener planted them in his garden. He mulched, watered, and fertilized them. For the first few weeks, he provided them with shade on days that were particularly hot. He continued doing this until their stems grew sturdy, and their roots grew deep. In time, they grew into strong, vibrant, healthy plants.

Another gardener lived next door. He mocked the first gardener. He said,

Why do you coddle your little plants so much? Why do you spend so much time when they are young, protecting them from the wind and the heat? Don’t you realize they are going to live outside eventually? Don’t you want to prepare your plants to live in the real world?

This other gardener did not care for his seeds, and he did not give attention to his little plants. From day one, he planted all of his seeds directly in the garden, and he walked away. He offered them very little protection. Within the first few weeks, a quarter of the little plants were killed by the heat, a quarter of them were broken by high winds, and a quarter of them were eaten by bugs. Out of every 100 seedlings, only 25 survived. And the growing season had only begun.

Which garden do you believe was the most fruitful?
Which gardener do you think received the most abundant harvest?

People ask why we homeschool our seven children.
People wonder why we shelter them from ungodly influences.
People worry that we are not preparing our children for the “real world”.

I understand that my children are precious little seedlings, tender little plants.
They need their stems to grow strong, and their roots to grow deep,
before facing the deadly temptations that the world has to offer.

As children, they need to be raised the way God requires, with godly Christian teaching all day long, every day (Deuteronomy 6:7).

When your little plants are young and tender, it is unwise to blast them with high winds and sweltering heat. It is not good to expose them to parasites. Your children will receive enough of that anyway, when they are adults. First, they need time to spread their roots deep into Christ, deep into the Church, and deep into the Scriptures.

I am preparing my children to live in the real world, not to die in it.

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About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
This entry was posted in Christian Education, Deuteronomy 6:4-7, The Orthodox Christian Family. Bookmark the permalink.

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